"Magic Mike XXL" is narrowly ahead of "Terminator Genisys" at the holiday weekend box office.
The Channing Tatum sequel earned $9.3 million on its opening day Wednesday, according to Warner Bros. Paramount Pictures said that its reboot of the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi franchise, "Terminator Genisys," opened with $8.9 million Wednesday.
Both sums include about $2 million in Tuesday night showings.
The two films are vying to unseat "Jurassic World" over the July Fourth weekend. With the holiday falling on Saturday, studios aren't getting the usual long-weekend boost. But "Magic Mike XXL" and "Terminator Genisys" both opened early to rope in more moviegoers.
The early figures suggest a very close race for the box-office lead. But it also means a July Fourth weekend lacking major fireworks at the multiplex. Both films will likely make in the neighborhood of $40 million from Wednesday through Sunday.
Such a result is dramatically better for "Magic Mike XXL," which was made for only about $15 million. "Terminator Genisys," on the other hand, was made for about $155 million and appears headed for disappointment.
Critics have slammed the fifth installment in the franchise, which returns Schwarzenegger to his most famous role after his absence in 2009's "Terminator Salvation." But at its current rate, "Genisys" won't come close to matching the five-day opening of $65.3 million for "Salvation."
The two new wide releases may struggle to surpass the strong holdovers of "Jurassic World" and Pixar's "Inside Out" over the weekend.
Still, the four movies should at least mean a big improvement over last year's July Fourth. Last summer's Independence Day weekend, featuring Melissa McCarthy's "Tammy" and the sci-fi adventure "Earth to Echo," was Hollywood's worst in decades.